What’s with the Dinosaurs?

Sea Worlds Dinosaur Island

When I first started thinking about this post, It was more about me being perplexed about dinosaur exhibits at zoos and their relevance. Ok I get it! Dinosaurs are popular at the moment. But really, has there ever been a time when they haven’t been?   This post was prompted by a recent visit to Sea World on the Gold Coast – Where they have Dinosaur Island, an area filled with giant models of dinosaurs growling and moving and looking just real enough to scare the pants of any kid. Don’t get me wrong it looked great and I’m sure it’s a huge draw card creating well needed funds and I get the need for that,  as I wrote in a recent blog.

Sea World – Gold Coast

What I have come to realise is that I think they are missing an opportunity to tell a really important story. Maybe one that will resinate with children allot more than just some animatronics.  We all know that dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years so yes there is a fascination and they are very popular. So why not use them as the draw card to tell a more frightening story.  Let’s also tell children about animals that have gone the way of the Dinosaur in let’s say, the last 10 year!  So in Sea Worlds Case – tell the story of the Baiji Dolphin that once was abundant in the Yangtze River in China – now extinct, last seen in 2002.  Or the Western Black Rhinotechnically still on the critically endangered list but none have been seen in any of the recent surveys and none are held in captivity, so without a peep – Extinct! Or the Hawaiian black Crow, Pyrenean Ibex or the Golden Toad, all gone.
Baby western black rhino – Gone!

I know that none of these animals have the pulling power of a Dinosaur Island. I am also sure that some zoos do touch on the subject of recent extinct animals at their dinosaur exhibits. If I had my way, alongside the plastic toys, tee-shirts and hats of dinosaurs in the gift shop would be, tee-shirts and hats and mugs with a picture of a Western Black Rhino, Golden Toad etc, with the word Extinct in bold red underneath. These stories need to be told so that our children’s children are not taking their children to a place called “wild life island”.
© April 2013-Stuatthezoo.blogspot.com.au

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